hey y’all!

sorry for being mia for a while! i’ve been in a bit of a funk – both reading and blogging wise – but i’m hoping to get back into it over the last few months of the year. i have some reviews coming up, and plans for a few other posts as well. let’s just get into this one, shall we?

title: how to be remy cameron
author: julian winters
genre: contemporary, romance
target audience: young adult
publisher: duet books
content warnings: racism and homophobia (both challenged), mentions of past death and alcoholism *note: there is a more detailed list of warnings at the end of the book!
my rating: highly recommended

i received an earc from the publisher in exchange for a review. this has not impacted my thoughts or opinions.

how to be remy cameron is julian winters’ second release. i am yet to read his first one, running with lions – also from duet books (i can see it from where i’m sitting right now, where it’s hanging out on my bookshelf, looking cute), but after remy cameron i am pretty much ready to throw myself into it headfirst.

how to be remy cameron follows teenager, you guessed it, remy cameron. he is a junior in high school, an adopted Black kid in a white family, confidently and openly gay, and a dog lover. the problem is, though, that he struggles a lot more with who he is than he lets on to anyone, and a school assignment brings that fact to the front of his mind. suddenly he is questioning how to define himself in pretty much every aspect of his life, while simultaneously moving on from a bad breakup and falling for a cute boy who just moved back to his city after being away for years.

remy has an incredibly supportive family, and i just fell head over heels in love with them. i love how his relationship to his parents and sister was handled, with him being adopted, and his whole arc with that. they all love each other so so much, remy’s interactions with his mom and dad almost brought me to tears a few times, and as an older sibling myself, his total adoration of his younger sister, while still thinking she is a little monster, was super fun.

another huge aspect of the story is of course the romance. remy’s love interest, ian, is  korean-mexican american. he used to go to the same school as remy, but moved away a few years ago. now, in their junior year, he is back and very pretty. their romance was so cute it almost killed me. the chemistry was so good, both of them are so soft, especially around each other. i also love that remy’s sister instantly takes a liking to ian, because i will always be here for the trope “sibling and love interest really get along and jokingly gang up on main character”.

the driving force of remy’s journey throughout this novel, however, is his desire to get to know himself. all his life he has used all these labels as a map of himself – Black, gay, adopted, brother, son, to name a few. they have been easy to use to describe himself and hide behind, but when he gets the assignment of Who Are You? he starts realising that he has never really gone deeper than those words. that’s not to say that labels are bad, of course they are not, but remy starts questioning what those words mean and is he enough to be those things and does that mean he has to be a certain way?

i loved reading about remy’s journey to get to know himself a little better, a little deeper. you can probably tell by the title, but how to be remy cameron is very much a character driven novel. it’s so ya. it’s lovely. if you, like me, love a book about identity and teenage drama where it feels like what’s happening right now will be The Biggest And Most Important Thing, i highly recommend you pick this one up.

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